Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

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Wheelchairs Anonymous

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by Treadmarkz

I went the other day to pick out my new wheelchair, and to fill out the paperwork for the wheelchair dealer to send in to the State of Minnesota so I could get my request approved by Medical Assistance, and two things stuck out, for me.

First thing: I had to get a prescription for my wheelchair. Why? I am clearly disabled and in need of an alternative method of locomotion. My legs won’t cut it. Why do I need proof that I need a chair? Are there people who are abusing wheelchairs? Are people overdosing on wheelchairs? Is there some illegal underground trafficking of wheelchairs that I don’t know about? Well, okay, with this one, if more people lose their social security, and MA and all that, this may happen. But as far as I know, this has not become an issue.

And secondly, when I was filling out the paperwork, I was asked my Social Security # and my MA card’s number, of course, and my address and phone number so they could contact me, of course. But then, out of the blue, Question #5 read, verbatim: “What is your role in society?” I thought “What the bloody hell?” I didn’t know where to start. But I knew what they were getting at. Again they don’t want to be giving away wheelchairs to just any bum off the street! You never know what the hell they’ll do with ’em! So I told them about my job where I am in a hectic office environment where I put on a lot of miles, not to mention the fact that I have a life and occasionally I, imagine this, go places!

But I didn’t need that. It’s National Disabled Employment Awareness Month for cryin’ out loud, and they want to know why I need a functional wheelchair? They don’t ask walkies that question when they buy a pair of shoes, do they? Nope. Just us.

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I Am Being Haunted By My Own Blog

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by Treadmarkz

I like to keep an eye on the stats for my blog, which postings are hot, am I going to have a bigger month than last month, etc. And when I see a posting from long long ago getting hot again, and its not because of a Stumble on StumbleUpon, it’s nice to see. But this has got me scared.

I had a posting earlier in the year when I was trying REALLY hard to just quit drinking soda altogether. I was doing really well too. I went almost a quarter of a year cold turkey. So I wrote up a story about the benefits one could gain from avoiding carbonated beverages, especially the disabled. All of a sudden this posting has come back with a vengeance, and I don’t know why, but I think it is trying to tell me something, so I have set myself an ultimatum. Quit drinking soda again. And I have given myself a cutoff date: October 15. Not to be self-righteous, but just because I know that all of the reasons I mentioned in that posting were very good reasons to quit. I will keep you posted.

PS: The earlier posting can be found below by it’s working title, “Soda Jerk.”

Top 11 List of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am (Bless Their Dippy Hearts)

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by Treadmarkz

Why 11 and not 10? Well…it’s complicated but I think it’s in the Americans with Disabilities Act somewhere. I get 11 automatically because I am in a wheelchair. Anyway, on with the list of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am.

PS: I’ve got spina bifida, in case you are new to “Leaving Treadmarkz Across The Universe”. Okay, here’s the list, and in no particular order, because I didn’t have the heart to place any higher emphasis on any of these people in comparison to the others.

1. People who find themselves using text message language in legal documents out of habit. (U no wut I mean?) These people just bug me and I wanted to put them on my list.

2. People who begin their fast food order with the word “gimme”. Usually it’s men, but not always. But regardless, I always wonder if they talk that way at home and what it gets them.

3. The two geniuses in the story at this link. Clearly human life means very little to them, and I don’t want to make them out to be representational of their entire generation, so I won’t, but I worry. (Sorry this link no longer valid but it originally linked to a story about two teenage girls who refused to give up screwing around with their cell phones and pagers even though the story they were interviewed for was about deaths resulting from such behavior.)

4. People who have a quote from one literary great or another to punctuate or sum up every conceivable real life situation they encounter.

5. Larry King, for two reasons that come to mind right off the bat:

I. He asked Paul McCartney if he ever wakes up in the morning and pinches himself.

II. He asked Ringo Starr “What’s it like being an ex-Beatle?” Seriously

When is this guy going to retire?

6. People who walk up to the front door of the mall and press that little “Door Open” button with the little blue guy in the wheelchair on it, knowing full well that pressing that button will make getting the door open take about three times longer than it would to just walk up to it and fling that sucker open! Some people who are not in wheelchairs really need to empower themselves by using the physical abilities they have.

7. Jesse Jackson/Don Imus: These guys should have a “Saying Stupid Things In Public” contest. Not that this has anything to do with the conventional understanding of “disabled”, but these guys clearly both have cloudy perception of common sense which holds them back, disables them.

8. This guy has more problems than I am qualified to discuss, not being a licensed therapist.

9. Anyone who puts all the energy of their youth into building up their bodies, at all costs to their mental, emotional and physical health, including the use of steroids. Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are good examples. These guys are all clearly unstable and willing to say anything that will allow them to continue their lifestyles. These people are like shooting stars and when they burn out, man, it’s gone. They won’t have anything left but a shell of a body with nothing upstairs to back it up. These four men were like the golden boys of Major League Baseball in the late 80s and they did well with it, but, all four ended their careers in disgrace.

10. People who spend more time figuring out what to call themselves than they do being themselves.

11. World leaders who use the word “nucular”. I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry.

THERE…how’s that for self-righteousness!

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode II – The Vietnam War

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by Treadmarkz

After the Vietnam War, almost 200,000 people came back home with a variety of debilitating war injuries and disabilities. They were amputees, they were blinded by flying shrapnel, they were deaf from unprotected ears during bombings, they were paraplegic, they were quadriplegic and they were mentally disabled from the stresses and horrors of the war.

But they came home.

With them, came a long list of socioeconomic issues that the country had not been confronted with since the down days of the Depression.

The Disabled American Veterans of the World War, established in 1920 had helped the 200,000 injured and disabled survivors of WWI. Of this number, those that suffered a permanent disability experienced the same troubles, joblessness, homelessness, alcoholism, etc. But many of them ended up in a mental institution or a home for the disabled, because their was no real other way to help them.

But for the vets of the Vietnam War, they came home without much in the way of benefits. Much less than their WWII counterparts received. Much of the social activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s can be attributed to the living conditions of the veterans. The first Vet Centers were not established until 1979. It took that long for veterans of WWII and any remaining disabled survivor of WWI, who were experiencing much of the same trouble that the Vietnam vets were, to get help.

Alcohol and drug use among veterans were rampant. These problems led to homelessness. I think we’ve all seen what has become somewhat of a stereotype, a man in a wheelchair on a street corner with the sign scribbled in permanent black marker on a piece of flattened cardboard box: “Disabled Veteran, Please Help” or something to that effect, with a bucket in his lap for any spare change he may receive from a generous passerby. This started after the Vietnam War. Before that, people in wheelchairs were rarely seen in public.

Terrible as their situation was, it took the story of the disabled from being buried in the back section to a big bold headline on the front page. For it was in the 1970s when legislation began to work its way through that made employment opportunities more accessible to the disabled, leading in part to the ADA, improvements in wheelchair technology and wheelchair athletic associations. It had to be so.

Thousands of the prospective young workforce, a workforce that once made this country thrive, were maimed, and therefore inactive. There had to be a way to get these people back into the world as the productive members of society that we are today. Because the country was in a major recession by the latter part of the seventies. In fact you might say that the many disabled who came back from the Vietnam War, needing employment contributed to the push-button workforce that is so prominent today. The Jetsons called it in 1962! It’s not push-button finger but carpal tunnel syndrome that we of the desk job suffer from in this modern age.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Preview of Episode II

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by Treadmarkz,

Sticking with the theme of war from my last posting, it’s time for another adventure with me, the backwards traveler, the ancient four-wheeled rambler as I roll across the space-time continuum to give a little insight as to the living conditions of the disabled throughout history.

Join me, won’t you, as I visit a magical land called “America-After-the-Vietnam-War”.

Stay tuned…

What Does Sierra Mist Taste Like After 86 Days w/o Pop?

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by Treadmarkz

The answer to the question above is, well…Mountain Dew of course. It’s true.

For those of you who have been following this blog, yeah I know I said I was knocking off the soda for the health benefits, but last weekend I got REALLY sick (temperature of 102.4 F) from a bladder infection and a little light soda can do you good when you are REALLY sick. Water just wasn’t cutting it. And taking care of my health is much more important (and I am sorry but I am going to say it again – ESPECIALLY for those of us in wheelchairs) than maintaining this absolute ban on carbonated beverages in my system, so I caved in for a day.

But I’ve been coughing ever since (which has nothing to do with my recent sickness) so I’m off it again.

Having said that, back to your regularly scheduled Treadmarkz programming!

Written by treadmarkz

April 9, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Off the Juice: 2000 Hours Soda-Free

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by Treadmarkz

As I mentioned a while back, I am a former heavy Mountain Dew drinker. Really, I am beyond the point of counting the hours since I’ve had it, and I am only counting the weeks now (12 weeks). But there is just something great about being able to say that today I reached 2000 hours without so much as a dribble of Mountain Dew or any other soda/pop going down my gullet. It’s a milestone.

I was thinking of celebrating tonight with a 12 oz. can of Mountain Dew, which would be a hell of a lot less than I used to drink in one sitting. I was at work until 9 pm, but at 8, which marked 2000 hours, I went and bought a can in the vending machine. It felt weird holding that cold, aluminum can in my hand. I had not held one, aside from throwing away an occasional empty for my wife (she hardly drinks any) or a co-worker, in nearly three months.

I flicked the side of the can with my finger, and listened to the tinny, metallic resonance as it reverberated in my hand, and echoed in my head like a giant, ancient church bell slamming back and forth.

You know what though? I didn’t drink it. When I got home, my wife reminded me that since quitting, I am looking healthier. That means a lot to me, as it does to her. I am approaching 30 now, and I know I have to take care of myself. Being paralyzed makes this evermore imperative. My wife and I have to watch out for each other and be good influences on each other when it comes to remaining healthy. So it did not take much for her to convince me to set the can aside.

I decided that tomorrow I’ll give the pop to a co-worker who recently picked up some McDonalds food for me during our dinner break. Is it just me, or is that the most illogical sentence ever constructed in the history of the written word, given the circumstances? But I digress…

Even though my plan was to drink the Dew to celebrate, then go back to my recent regimen of water and the occasional juice, I couldn’t do it. In a way I didn’t really want to drink it, and was not too bothered when my wife said she wished I wouldn’t. I don’t want to be too tempted to go back to my usual intake. You may be thinking, “it’s just pop, man” and you are right.

But the main reason I stopped to begin with means a lot more to me than a momentary rush.

Written by treadmarkz

April 4, 2008 at 6:51 AM